Information Needs of Patients for a Patient-Centerd Referral

Grants and Contracts Details


Lack of coordination of care across the silos in the health care system often requires that the patient convey information from one health care provider to another. Prior studies of the patient referral process focused on the process of information exchange between primary care and specialist providers including the content, quality, and satisfaction with the communication process. The objective of this study is to explore the information needs of patients at each point in the primary care to specialist referral. Knowing the type, amount and format of information needed by patients in an effective referral will provide guidance to providers, improve patient's trust, and ultimately improve the patient's knowledge and management of their disease. Questions of interest include: . What information do patients need from their PCP prior to going to a specialist for a consultation? . What information do patients need from the specialist? . In what format is information needed? . Do information needs differ by, diagnosis, health status, and sociodemographic characteristics The proposed study involves three phases. Phase I is a qualitative exploration of the communications in an effective referral as defined by each participant. This will be accomplished through taped face to face interviews with patients, PCPs, and SPs. In Phase II, the themes discovered in the analysis of the patient's interviews will form an instrument for measuring quality in the referral process. The instrument will be tested with a sample of patients from an urban setting who receive care in a closed system and a sample of patients from a rural setting who receive care in an open system. After testing within the two health care systems, the National Research Center will test the instrument with a national representative sample of patients. The final product will be a survey instrument that can be used to measure quality in the referral process. This research will add to the body of literature on information needs for patient centered care across the continuum. Future research could investigate the impact of patient centered communication in the referral process on improved disease management, unplanned physician visits, and adverse outcomes.
Effective start/end date7/1/021/31/05


  • Commonwealth Fund: $280,741.00


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